October is the perfect time of year to celebrate the rich history and symbolism of skull imagery, dating back to the ancient Aztecs.
Sugar skulls, or Calaveras de Azúcar, are deeply rooted in Mexican tradition and culture. This festive and whimsical symbol is an important part of the Day of the Dead - or Día de Los Muertos –celebration, a Mexican holiday that marks the remembrance and celebration of loved ones who have departed. The skulls are made of sugar and embellished with bright colors to commemorate the deceased in a sweet and nostalgic way. Sugar skulls negate the idea that death is frightening, macabre and taboo.
On Día de Los Muertos, it’s customary to leave sugar skulls as an offering on the altars, called ofrendas, made to memorialize the souls of loved ones who have passed. Sometimes, the skulls are also gifted to those still living, as an expression of appreciation and thoughtfulness.
Now, let’s take an even closer look at the sugar skull...
The holiday has its roots in primitive Aztec rituals, observed before the Spanish invasion, when people used actual human skulls on their altars for the dead. When the Spaniards arrived and became aware of this custom, they were appalled by the use of real bones on the ofrendas. So they introduced ones made with sugar paste and clay, and a holiday tradition was created.
At Samira 13, our skulls are created using pearls, diamonds and gold. Designer Samira Sizdahkhani hand carves each Tahitian or South Sea pearl that becomes one of her iconic charms. From handcrafted visage to 18K gold bezel and diamond eyes, each skull pendant is a unique and playful interpretation of an oftentimes somber symbol.
Article Research: Wikipedia and symbolsage.com